Child safety should not take a back seat


PARAMEDICS respond to car accidents that involve young children all the time and in most cases the children unfortunately die due to not being restrained correctly.

So, what is the appropriate restraint for your child? Dr Robyn Holgate, ER24’s chief medical officer, offers the following advice:

Neonates and infants should be restrained in an appropriate car seat, rear facing suitable for their weight until they exceed weight/ height limitations, usually at around one to two years old/9kg. This is to avoid the risk of a cervical spine injury should they be in an accident.

Thereafter toddlers and infants should be secured in forward facing car seats appropriate for their height and age. A school going child should remain in a booster seat until the age of around eight to 12 or a height of 1,4 m. This is to ensure the car’s seatbelt fits appropriately over their chest and thighs.

A car seat should always be secured into the car using the manufacturers recommendations. Most importantly, children should not sit in the front seat.

Children who are tall enough to wear an adult seat belt should still ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old. Adjust the seat belt so the lap belt crosses the child’s upper thighs and the diagonal belt crosses the upper chest at a point between the neck and shoulder.

“There has been a significant reduction in deaths of children in motor vehicle accidents since we’ve introduced additional car safety features and additional child safety features. These guidelines have been researched and proven to be beneficial for our little people in vehicle accidents,” said Dr Holgate.

One of the most important jobs parents have is keeping their children safe when travelling, and it is now a legislation that children younger than three years are restrained in a car seat. It is your responsibility to keep your child safe.

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Khethukuthula Lembethe-Xulu

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